From the May issue of Natural Awakenings

National DNA Day is observed each year on April 25 to commemorate the successful completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 and the discovery of the DNA double helix structure by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953.

The Human Genome Project today is helping us better understand the causes of diseases and predispositions toward them, and is already helping doctors understand how people respond differently to drugs and vaccines, the environment, infection, drugs and vaccines.

Although DNA analysis is used to solve crimes and establish paternity, there is a lot more to what we can learn from this new technology. It is estimated that 50 percent of the population has the MTHFR gene mutation, which can increase risk for depression, cardiovascular disease and miscarriages. Factor V and Factor II are both related to blood clotting, which can increase risk for those that have other cardiovascular risks. Ancestry can be traced, helping us understand where we come from.

Importantly, pharmacogenomic testing provides data on genetic predisposition for metabolizing different medications. Doctors can use this test to take the trial and error out of finding the correct dose for each patient.

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